Charles Stanley –Responding to Disappointment

 

Matthew 1:18-25

To find examples of wise, godly reactions to disappointment, you’re more likely to turn to Psalms than to Matthew. But the very first chapter in the New Testament tells the story of an upright man’s reaction to painful and disheartening news.

Joseph—Jesus’ earthly father—was a righteous person. A godly man wants a wife who shares his desire to honor and obey the Lord, and Scripture indicates that Mary was exactly that sort of woman (Luke 1:45-55). So imagine how stunned Joseph must have been when Mary returned from a long visit with her relative Elizabeth and told him that she was pregnant. Moreover, she was claiming no man had touched her.

No matter how Joseph looked at the situation, it appeared grim. And yet Matthew 1:20 says that he “considered”—in other words, he sought a wise, righteous response. God entered Joseph’s life in a dramatic way to confirm Mary’s story and put a stop to his plans for a quiet annulment.

The Lord turned Joseph’s mourning into great purpose. Mary had told the truth—strange and startling though it was. The couple would bear the intense public censure of a too-soon pregnancy, but Joseph stopped thinking about what others would say. God had sacred work for him: to raise the Messiah, alongside a faithful woman.

Followers of Christ should seek a godly response to disappointments they face. Since the Lord always has a plan, the wisest reaction is to anticipate the good He can do and await His timing. God certainly blessed Joseph for his willingness to seek God’s kingdom first (Matt. 6:33).

Bible in One Year: Job 39-42

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — A Warm Welcome

 

Read: 1 Peter 4:7–11 | Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 34–36; John 19:1–22

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9

“Who will hug everybody?”

That was one of the questions our friend Steve asked after he got the news that he had cancer and realized he would be away from our church for a while. Steve is the kind of man who makes everyone feel welcome—with a friendly greeting, a warm handshake, and even a “holy hug” for some—to adapt an application from Romans 16:16, which says, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.”

And now, as we pray for Steve that God will heal him, he is concerned that as he goes through surgery and treatment—and is away from our church for a time—we will miss out on those welcoming greetings.

Perhaps not all of us are cut out to greet one another as openly as Steve does, but his example of caring for people is a good reminder to us. Notice that Peter says to “offer hospitality to one another without grumbling,” or in a way that centers on love (1 Peter 4:9; see Philippians 2:14). While first-century hospitality included offering accommodations to travelers—even that always starts with a welcoming greeting.

As we interact with others in love, whether with a hug or just a friendly smile, we do so “that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11).

Lord, help us to represent You to others. Guide us to show hospitality in a way that will show others Your love.

When we practice hospitality, we share God’s goodness.

By Dave Branon

INSIGHT

In 1 Peter 4, the apostle challenges the church to hospitality then reinforces that challenge with a call to service (vv. 10–11). In verse 10 he reminds believers that we’ve received gifts for that very purpose, and as we utilize those gifts in serving others we become expressions of God’s grace. It appears from these statements that Peter is giving his readers a glimpse into the realm of spiritual gifts about which Paul wrote in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12.

Spiritual gifts are the Holy Spirit’s provision for equipping followers of Jesus to help one another (1 Corinthians 12:7). While Paul offers a more extended list of these gifts, Peter compresses them into two basic categories: speaking gifts and serving gifts (1 Peter 4:11). Both provide support and resources for the kind of hospitality described in today’s devotional. As we encourage people with the Scriptures and help them by acts of service, the family of God is strengthened and the hurting are helped.

For more on spiritual service, check out the free download, The Church We Need.

Bill Crowder

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Wisdom Hunters – Accurate Information… 

 

He [Apollos] was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.  Acts 18:24–25

Accurate information is an expression of integrity. It is the ability to gather all the pertinent facts and communicate them clearly to all necessary parties. It is when we get in a hurry that we distort data and forget details. We need to slow down and do an accuracy audit of our information. Are the dates right? Are the details precise? Does everyone affected understand? Accurate information and comprehension create creditability.

Accuracy begins by being properly schooled and instructed, so you become a subject matter expert in the material you manage. Apollos was a student of Scripture.  He examined the mind and heart of God expressed in Holy Writ, and he allowed others to instruct him in the way of the Lord. He rightly divided the truth because he understood and applied the truth.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 nkjv).

Have you gone to school on the subject you are seeking to master? Do you have a mentor to instruct you and hold you accountable? Excellent work requires you to be an apostle of accurate information. As you learn to love the details that matter, your work will matter more. Accurate information is extremely valuable because it is the foundation on which assumptions are built. Does your process protect you from displaying inaccurate information?

Confidence comes when there is clarity of facts and comprehension of the content. Doubt will dog you as long as the truth is tentative and details are left unaccounted for. It is better to work thoroughly on one project and get it right than to engage in a flurry of activity with only futility as its outcome.

“You must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly” (Deuteronomy 13:14).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me not jump to conclusions and instead give me a patient heart to gather and understand accurate information before I make a decision, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: Do I take the proper time to gather, comprehend, and communicate accurate information? Do I steward data precisely and accurately?

Related Readings: Deuteronomy 25:15; Psalm 119:140; Acts 22:3; 2 Timothy 3:17

Worship Resource: 4-minute music video- Lacey Strum: Justice and Mercy

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

http://www.wisdomhunters.com/

Joyce Meyer – Four Principles for Successful Daily Living

 

For let him who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good—whether apparent or not] keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from guile (treachery, deceit). Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it, and let him do right. Let him search for peace…and seek it eagerly….  — 1 Peter 3:10-11 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Trusting God Day by Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

I enjoy just reading over this passage and soaking up the power from its principles for successful daily living. It gives four specific principles for those who want to enjoy life:

  1. Keep your tongue free from evil.God’s Word states clearly, the power of life and death is in the mouth. We can bring blessing or misery into our lives with our words. When we speak rashly we often get into arguments, so choose your words carefully.
  2. Turn away from wickedness. We must take action to remove ourselves from wickedness or from a wicked environment. The action we must take could mean altering our friendships; it could even mean loneliness for a period of time. But you can always trust God to be with you.
  3. Do right.The decision to do right must follow the decision to stop doing wrong. Both are definite choices. Repentance is twofold; it requires turning awayfrom sin and turning to righteousness.
  4. Search for peace. Notice that we must search for it, pursue it, and go after it. We cannot merely desirepeace without any accompanying action, but instead we must desirepeace with action. We need to search for peace in our relationship with God and with others.

When I started living by these principles, not only did my relationships improve, but so did my health, my attitude, and all areas of my life. The same will be true for you.

Prayer Starter: Father, Your Word has all of the answers for a great life. Help me to put Your principles into practice, today and every day. I can’t do it alone—I can only do it through Your strength. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You’ve Already Won

 

“Dear young friends, you belong to God and have already won your fight with those who are against Christ, because there is someone in your hearts who is stronger than any evil teacher in this wicked world” (1 John 4:4).

“I am afraid of Satan,” a young minister once told me.

“You should be afraid of Satan,” I responded, “if you insist on controlling your own life. But not if you are willing to let Christ control your life. The Bible says, ‘Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.'”

My friend lived in a city where one of the largest zoos in the world was located.

“What do you do with lions in your city?” I asked.

“We keep them in cages,” he replied.

“You can visit the lion in its cage at the zoo,” I explained, “and it cannot hurt you, even if you are close to the cage. But stay out of that cage, or the lion will make mincemeat out of you.”

Satan is in a “cage.” He was defeated 2,000 years ago when Christ died on the cross for our sins. Victory is nowours. We do not look forward to victory, but we move from victory, the victory of the cross.

Satan has no power except that which God allows him to have. Do not be afraid of him, but do stay away from him. Avoid his every effort to tempt and mislead you. Remember, that choice is up to you.

Bible Reading:I John 2:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will with God’s help, stay out of Satan’s “cage,” choosing rather to enlist God’s indwelling Holy Spirit to fight for me in the supernatural battle against the satanic forces which surround me.

 

http://www.cru.org

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Questions for the Rich Farmer


Read: Luke 12:13-21

Be on your guard against all covetousness. (v. 15)

In just three verses, this rich fool refers to himself seven times. Count them. He reminds me of the T-shirt that says, “Enough about me, let’s talk about you. What do you think about me?” This raises several “what if” questions. What if the rich farmer had reflected on God’s blessings, which enabled his bountiful crops? What if he had thought, “I will build bigger so I’ll have storage room for neighboring farmers?” What if the rich farmer had remembered that life is as brief as the morning mist?

“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’” (Luke 12:20). There is nothing wrong with bountiful crops or having more than one barn could hold. It all is a gift of God, who makes the sun shine and the rain fall, producing the abundant harvest. Farmers work long hours planting, harvesting, and storing into barns. Greed is something else. It’s been called the affliction of the affluent—an abundance of money, property, and material goods. God is not stingy. He created a world with “enough for everyone’s needs, but not for everyone’s greed” (Gandhi).

In Dante’s Inferno of judgment, the greedy are boiled alive in molten gold. It’s their punishment for hoarding or spending their riches selfishly. Mercy gives. Greed grabs. It’s never satisfied. Jesus says to us, “Beware of covetousness”! —Chic Broersma

Prayer: Lord, free me from greed

 

https://woh.org/

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – DIVINE SILENCE? OUR FEELING OF BEING PUNISHED

 

Isaiah 64:8–12

In centuries past, a “cage of shame” was used for public punishments in many European towns and villages. The offender—who was deemed guilty of anything from adultery to public drunkenness to gossip—was placed inside a large metal cage and put on display in the town square, often during market days or festivals. He or she would often be spit upon or even pelted with rocks and rotten vegetables by the crowds.

Will you keep silent and punish us beyond measure?ISAIAH 64:12

Divine silence can make us feel as if God is punishing or shaming us like this. In today’s reading, the relationship between God and His people seems broken. At first, the relationship was close and trusting (v. 8). He was the Father, and the Israelites were His children. He was the Potter, they were the clay (cf. Isa. 29:16; 45:9). When they sinned against Him, Isaiah prayed for forgiveness (v. 9). His anger was just, but surely He would forgive, look on them again with favor, and restore the relationship.

Now the Promised Land has become a wasteland (v. 10). Solomon’s great temple has been burned to the ground. The people have been conquered and sent into exile. Will there be no end to God’s judgments? These events and feelings culminate in God’s silence as the most severe of all the punishments (v. 12). In light of all that had happened, would He really continue to hold out or withhold Himself? That is the real misery, the worst affliction, the most painful humiliation of all!

Isaiah’s faith and hope is revealed by the fact that all this is embedded in a prayer. He still cried out to the Lord. He did not believe that the relationship is over or that God will remain silent forever. God’s covenant with Israel is based not on Israel’s merit but on God’s faithful love (Isa. 65:1–3).

APPLY THE WORD

In Scripture and elsewhere, language and silence are often relational metaphors: to speak indicates a strong relationship, presence, and blessing, while to be silent indicates an impaired relationship, absence, and judgment. To explore more, visit the Today in the Word website, todayintheword.com, and check out the October 2012 study.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org